Failed States Index 2013: What Were You Expecting?

Published June 24, 2013 | By J. J. Messner

In compiling the 2013 Failed States Index (FSI), there was some optimism at The Fund for Peace that we would finally see Somalia climb out of first place on the Index after having been firmly anchored in top position for five straight years, especially given the encouraging signs that have been emanating from the country in recent times. It was not to be. Somalia has, for the sixth time in succession, taken top spot in the FSI.

Most Improved Country for 2013: Japan

Published June 24, 2013 | By Sebastian Pavlou

Japan continues to recover with relative speed from the triple crisis of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant meltdown that devastated the country on March 11, 2011. After the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami tore through the country's north-eastern coastal communities of Miyagi, Iwatu and Fukushima, at least 20,851 people died or remain missing. This figure includes the confirmed number of dead, 15,881, those who are missing, 2,668, and 2,303 others who died from disaster-related issues.

Failed States Index 2013: The Troubled Ten

Published June 24, 2013 | By J. J. Messner & Kendall Lawrence

Though it is called the Failed States Index, that is not to say that every country on the FSI is a failed state — after all, Finland is ranked on the FSI. That is also not to say that any country on the FSI is necessarily failed — though Somalia might be the closest approximation to what many people may consider to be a failed state. Rather, the Failed States Index measures the pressures experienced by countries and thus adjudges their susceptibility to state failure. Ranking top on the FSI does not in and of itself mean that a country is failed — it simply means that of all countries, that one country is the most at risk of failure.

Anatomy of a Storm: Regional Impacts of the Arab Spring

Published June 24, 2013 | By Nate Haken

Does state failure matter? Obviously it matters mostly for the population of that country, but even for its neighbors, the answer is a resounding yes. Chaos in a single country can often impact an entire region. In 2011, as measured in the 2012 FSI, Tunisia and the wider “Arab Spring” were the case in point. In 2012, Mali — the most worsened state in the 2013 FSI — dragged the Western Sahel into a vortex of instability.

The Dark Side of State Building: South Sudan

Published June 24, 2013 | By Nate Haken & Patricia Taft

For sustainable human security, statebuilding is the only endgame. Absent the state, traditional mechanisms and authority structures might indeed manage communal issues, perhaps even better than would the state. Trans-communal issues like environmental degradation, complex humanitarian emergencies, and large scale conflict, however, go beyond the jurisdiction and capacity of such entities. Building a legitimate, professional, and representative state, therefore, is the only way to address the problems of the modern, interconnected world. This process is inherently messy, however, as demonstrated in the case of the world’s newest state, South Sudan, number four on this year’s Failed States Index.

The Recovery of Somalia: Check Back With Us Again Next Year

Published June 24, 2013 | By Felipe Umaña

Somalia has been what many would describe as the quintessential “failed state” since the inception of the Failed States Index (FSI). Struggling with an occasionally unforgiving semi-arid topography in much of the North, widespread poverty as a result of tight competition for few resources, and mired by high levels of insecurity, an inchoate political system, and a disjointed sovereignty, Somalia has performed poorly in virtually every indicator measured on this and other global indices.

The Year of Red-Line Diplomacy

Published June 24, 2013 | By Patricia Taft

The top several tiers of the annual Failed States Index (FSI) are often occupied not only by weak and fractured states at risk for conflict, but also states that have, over the years, been the proverbial thorns in the side of the international community. Each year these chart toppers, often impervious by either choice or circumstance to reform, test the mettle of world leaders tasked with coming up with strategies for dealing with their dangerous behavior.

Multidimensional Solutions: The Four D’s of Human Security

Published June 24, 2013 | By Krista Hendry

Tackling state fragility — once it has been identified by tools such as the Failed States Index (FSI) — is by no means a simple or straightforward task. Nor is it a one-dimensional task that can be undertaken alone. Building a state and society that protects human security requires a multifaceted strategy by a team of committed actors to stand any chance of being effective.

Pages